Monday, September 20, 2010

New Physics? Fundamental Cosmic Constant Now Seems Shifty --- CONSTANTS VARY (???)

This is a good example of why science is so crazy now...they have begun to claim that CONSTANTS vary...

New Physics? Fundamental Cosmic Constant Now Seems Shifty
Recent observations of distant galaxies suggest that the strength of the electromagnetic force – the so-called fine-structure constant – actually varies throughout the universe. In one direction, the constant seemed to grow larger the farther astronomers looked; in another direction the constant took on smaller values with greater distance.

If confirmed, this revelation could reshape physicists' understanding of cosmology from the ground up. It may even help solve a major conundrum: Why are all the constants of nature perfectly tuned for life to exist?

...A changing constant

Astrophysicists have been studying the fine-structure constant – known as the alpha constant – for years, searching for hints that it might change. Some projects have found evidence that the constant does vary, while other probes confirmed the constant's constancy. [The Greatest Mysteries in Science]

...For Flambaum and others, it seemed like too much of a coincidence that the universe's constants – which includes the alpha constant and others like the value of the strength of gravity, or the strength of the strong interaction that binds atomic nuclei together – should be perfect for building stars and planets and life.

"Now we have an explanation," Flambaum said."If fundamental constants vary in space, we just appear in the area of the universe where constants are good for us."

They are talking about the alpha constant, or the fine-structure constant. 
In physics, the fine-structure constant (usually denoted α, the Greek letter alpha) is a fundamental physical constant, namely the coupling constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. The numerical value of α is the same in all systems of units, because α is a dimensionless quantity...

...Physicists have pondered for many years whether the fine structure constant is in fact constant, i.e., whether or not its value differs by location and over time. Specifically, a varying α has been proposed as a way of solving problems in cosmology and astrophysics...

...The anthropic principle is a controversial explanation of why the fine-structure constant takes on the value it does: stable matter, and therefore life and intelligent beings, could not exist if its value were much different.

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